Galway city may to go from three local election wards to two with candidates fighting for a total of 18 Galway City Council seats, instead of the current 15.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan has established the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee, which will look at the local electoral area boundaries throughout the State, in the context of the results of Census 2011 and the Action Programme for Effective Local Government. The group must report their findings no later than May 31 2013.
There is much speculation in political circles as to what the committee could recommend for Galway. It is understood that Galway City Council may have to be increased from 15 elected members to 18. This is because the Minister’s terms of reference to the committee state that “subject to a minimum total of 18 and a maximum total of 40 members of every other council there should be one member for every 4,830 population in each council area”.
This has resulted in speculation that the city’s three electoral wards - Galway City West, Galway City Centre, and Galway City East, could be amalgamated into just two wards, one for either side of the River Corrib, each with nine seats.
However if the three constituencies remain, the number of seats in each will increase to six. This would mean two extra seats in Galway City West and Galway City Centre, which both currently have four seats, and one extra seat in Galway City East, which currently has five seats.